Sunday, I chatted with a couple (mid-50s) from Cornwall. They are two months into a "gap year"--taken once their youngest reached 18--devoted to sailing the Med. They saw what I'm reading, and asked "Don't you think the West is declining and falling too?"
Five minutes later, I stopped arguing. But, I was struck, again, by how different conservatives are from the stereotype. My brand of conservatism is so optimistic, and so trusting of the polis and the law of large numbers (contra this), that I never understood why Candide was satire. This is the best of all possible worlds--or, if it's not, that's because it's getting better.
Hence my opposition to Obama. Even were it better defined, why is "change" good? I'm a conservative, for God's sake! While there's much I would do differently, it's a matter of emphasis--markets, individuality--not direction. Still, the best aspect of Obama is the favorable frisson regarding a first-generation American running for President. That's progress too.
September 11th was a curveball, and no one on the Washington Nationals can hit breaking stuff. But once America resolved to take the offense against terrorism, we resumed the right vector. I know about Will and Whittle--but there must be many who, like me, are optimistic about the present and future.
We are the true progressives.